Leslie Scanlon, a reporter for The Presbyterian Outlook, reports:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has once again voted to uphold a requirement that those being ordained practice fidelity in marriage or chastity if they’re single – the third time the denomination has voted to retain the “fidelity and chastity” standard since it came into effect in 1997.
On April 25, 2009, the Presbyteries of Northern Plains and Boise became the 86th and 87th presbyteries to vote not to change the standard – meaning that a majority of the denomination’s 173 presbyteries have voted “No” on the proposed amendment to the denomination’s constitution. Some presbyteries have yet to vote – under the rules they have until June 28 to do so.
But the result has already been determined: the “fidelity and chastity” standard will stay.
Nevertheless, the vote was closer than ever, which is leading some to speculate that it is only a matter of time before the PC(USA) formally accepts the ordination of practicing homosexuals. One reason for the vote being so close, Scalan notes, is that some conservative churches have left the PC(USA) for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. She writes:
“Some of those congregations which left were large or prominent churches which played leadership roles in rallying evangelicals during earlier votes involving gay ordination.”